Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Castle Fish

If you had walked into the Castle Inn in Fydell Street in 1953 you’d have seen fish everywhere, on the walls, above the bar, over the seats and in the back rooms, but there was no smell of fish because all of them were stuffed and in cases. The landlord at the time Mr. Ernest Ratherby said, “They have turned this place from a back-street pub into an anglers inn.”

There were about 60 fish in the pub and if any large fish was caught in Boston then it was stuffed and put in the Castle Inn, but it was not just a drinking place for local men, anglers from all over the country came by car, coach and rail to see the collection of fish. When Mr. Ratherby came to the Castle in about 1936 he said the collection was worth about £300 but had no idea what it was worth in 1953.
The best of the collection was a 23lb. Pike and there was a story that a drunk, leaning unsteadily on the corner of the bar one evening, trying to get the fish into proper focus, is reputed to have said, “The fisherman who caught that fish is a sh-tinking liar.”
Prize piece of the collection was a large case holding two enormous Pike, both were caught within a stones throw of the pub and both within an hour of each other. The oldest fish was caught in 1903.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Keightley's / White Horse

In September 1958 work began on demolishing the White Horse pub in West Street to make way for a new department store to be built on the corner of West Street and Emery Lane by H.E. Keightley the drapers and furnishers.

The White Horse, on the corner of West Street and Emery Lane.

An artists impression of how the new store would look after the White Horse was demolished.

Keightley’s had another shop at the other end of Emery Lane called the “Civet Cat” which sold dress fabrics, haberdashery, handbags and leather goods but why was it called “Civet Cat” ? Even Mr. Cyril Keightley one of the firms directors wasn’t sure, he said, “I think there used to be a perfume shop there once and part of the animal civet cat was used as a base for some of the perfume, that’s as near as I can get”.

The Civet Cat shop in 1899 (now Cash Generators)
No plans had been made for the fate of the model of a white horse which had decorated the front of the old hotel for so many years, but the architect Mr. Alan Meldrum believed that it would crumble away as the demolition workers reached it, I think eventually an unknown Boston lady retrieved it and it ended up as a feature in her garden*.
The Keightley’s store was eventually built on the White Horse site and it continued for many years, after it finally closed the shop was used by Grandways Supermarket for a while and is now Dunelm’s shop.
The site of the White Horse in 2011.
* SEE "WHITE HORSE FOUND" in April 2011 of blog.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Nine Row

Thanks to Rob Smith for the picture below. This row of old cottages were called the ‘Nine Row’ and they were located in the short section of Rosegarth Street that was on the opposite side of Lincoln Lane from the main part of Rosegarth Street.

When the fire station was moved from West Street to Lincoln Lane it stood on the wasteland pictured at the front of the cottages although by that time they had been demolished for many years.

‘Happy days, Boston 1928’ is etched on the negative of this picture taken outside one of the Nine Row cottages, Phyllis Cochrane (nee Betts) is standing on the far right. In the 1920’s the property was owned by George Pinches. His Great Niece said that the cottages were of poor quality and Mr. Pinches spent little money on improving them.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Re-creations by Paul Hudson

A big thank-you to Paul Hudson who sent me the following pictures that he created. By adding colour he has brought to life an old black and white photo of the Gallows Mill that stood near the present site of the Dock and was demolished when the docks were built.
The other pictures show old scenes of Boston with their modern appearance viewed under a magnifying glass, thanks again Paul for sharing these pictures, excellent. You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sluice Bridge warehouse

This warehouse was built in the late 18th. Century next to the Grand Sluice. It was broken up into four units and river craft stopped here and unloaded their goods instead of going through the lock.

For a number of years it was used by Beeson’s the glaziers (whose sign still remains there) and has now been converted into living accommodation with a bar/cafĂ© at one end named The Jolly Sailor.
The warehouses in 2011.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Seed Huts

The seed huts, or agricultural merchant’s huts, used to be wheeled into the town centre on market days. They had been a familiar sight for years and it was here that the merchant’s did their trading - but not everyone liked this link to Boston’s historic past. In August 1961 the residents of Sibsey Lane were angry and worried. Angry because they were woken up at half past four every Wednesday morning by clanking, squeaking and shouting as the huts were moved from their store yard at the bottom of the lane to the Market Place and worried because recently one of the huts had caused an accident where both the driver and an assistant from the butchers shop at the top of the lane had to be taken to hospital.

The Huts in the Market Place.
In 1961 it had only been fairly recently that the huts had been kept in Sibsey Lane, they used to be stored in the Peacock and Royal Hotel yard and once upon a time they were brought up to the market along Shodfriar’s Lane, which bothered no one, so people were asking why couldn’t Shodfriars Lane be used again instead of the narrower Sibsey Lane.

The Huts, the Still pub can be seen on the right.

Mr. A. Lawton, who had an office in Sibsey Lane described the noise when the huts are brought back from the market at about half past four in the afternoon as shocking and said “The row created by unoiled wheels and creaking shafts makes it impossible to speak on the telephone”.
Mr. and Mrs. Musson, who lived in cottages opposite said they were woken up soon after four‘o’clock every Wednesday morning by an unearthly row, and the whole house and everything in it begins to tremble - including their bed! There were about thirty huts they said and what with the noise of the horses, the driver shouting and the iron wheels - which sounded as though they had never been greased - the row goes on for about three hours.
Mr. S. Swift, who had a butchers shop at the top of the lane was furious about the way the huts were moved and said that one of them had recently smashed into the front of Shodfriars Hall and both the driver Jack Goddard and one of Mr. Swift’s assistants Robert Rogers had to be taken to hospital.

Mr. Swift's butcher's shop can be seen centre right, at the top of Sibsey Lane.

Mr. and Mrs. Locking, both in their eighties, lived at the bottom of the lane and got the worse of the noise, they both agreed that it would be better if they had rubber wheels instead of iron ones.
Mr. J. O’Hara, who had a betting shop in Sibsey Lane drew up a petition signed by 11 people and sent it to the Corporation but he was told that it was not their problem and should be sent to the Highways Committee.
What the outcome was and what happened to the huts I don’t know, I remember them in the Market Place well into the late sixties but, like so much of old Boston, one day you look and it’s not there any more.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Lincoln Lane Area

During the 1960’s the Lincoln Lane area (almost opposite the Stump on the other side of the river) was demolished in preparation for redevelopment.

The Blue Lion on the corner bottom left, and the Victoria Inn on the far right corner.

The area included Irby Row, St. George’s Lane, Lawrence Lane, Leicester Square, Pinfold Lane, Stanbow Lane, Rosegarth Street and Lincoln Lane itself. Earlier demolition and the passage of time had already brought Lincoln Lane to its knees and from 1932 to 1961 between 75 and 100 properties had been pulled down by the Corporation or by their owners.

Many of the buildings and homes were up to 200 years old and four of the Stanbow Lane cottages were once used as a hospital.

The cottages that were used as a  hospital in Stanbow Lane.

When it was built the area was a prosperous place, boasting among other homes, two or three large merchant’s houses and gardens. It was mainly residential but later a few pubs (the Stag and Pheasant, the Hop Pole, the Victoria, the Blue Lion etc.) appeared as well, and then, as slum clearance produced waste land, shops were built and industry edged a foot in the doorway, including the shoe lace factory of Arthur Whittle and Co. Ltd., a slaughterhouse, George White’s saleroom and even the Fire Station had its home there but by 1961 there were fewer than fifty houses occupied.

Part of Lincoln Lane.

But what of the residents in 1961 that were told they would have to leave? At the Victoria Inn, Mrs. Agnes Berry, wife of the landlord said, “I’m not really bothered, but I know most of my customers are” she also looked back at some of the characters of the area she knew, there was Topper, (a chimney sweep who sported a top hat) Shetty, Weary butterfly, Sooty Sue, Old Pol Simpson, Old Nel Drury……….
At 13, Rosegarth Street, lived Tom and William Cushley, brothers (at 66 and 70 respectively) and both retired Corporation dustmen. Tom had won the Military Medal in the First World War and it was his fourth home in the area. He said, “We’ve both had 35 years on the ash carts. We live here happily together. It suits us and we’re never badly*. Course we don’t want to move!” “I spent four years out in France without a scratch. Now, after five years here they want me out, and it’ll be the fourth time.”
At 16, Rosegarth Street, Mr. and Mrs. W. Hough, with a growing family, took a different view. Said Mrs. Hough: “We’ve always lived in old houses and it will be a pleasure to get away from this and into a decent one. We’ve no bath and no electricity, and the place is damp.”

Rosegarth Street.

At her grocers shop in Lincoln Lane, Mrs. May Peacock, was worried. “I’ve been in this shop for 24 years, the ground opposite has been waste all that time and we want to know definitely what’s going to happen, and when. This shop is my living.”

The corner of Stanbow Lane and Pinfold Lane.
So, back to today, it was all eventually “rejuvenated” and on the characterless, red-bricked site now (2011) among other things are the Police Station, the Department of Employment, an empty Kwik-Save supermarket and the Bus Station.
*In Boston “never badly” means you’re never ill.